Goals are necessary for you to understand what actions you need to take to get where you want to be.
Even if you end up changing tact mid way through, you wouldn't know that you needed to make a change if you didn't have an idea of what looked like success and what didn't.
This week, I want to talk about the actual act of setting goals and laying out a plan of action to achieve them.
Last week I talked about reviewing your website analytics and understanding what activity is driving sales for your business. This is great information to help you understand what goals to set for your business for the coming year.
- When I set goals for my business, I always focus on what generates the sales – ie where the money is coming from. I learnt this in my early days in business. It may sound odd, but when I first started, money wasn’t the focus it was more what I was doing. But without the context of whether these were the right actions to generate income, I quickly was not doing things that helped me grow my business.
- It may sound mercenary but understanding where and how the money will be generated is kind of the point of a business – even if you don’t want to earn a lot of it, even if you have other goals around lifestyle or socially minded goals, money is what makes your business sustainable.
- Therefore, my goals are always set in the context of revenue or income that I want to earn.
- If you are not sure how to set your goals, then set them based on what you earnt the previous year. You might want to increase it by a certain percentage or maintain it, but make improvements that are more about your quality, ease or hours of work.
- Once you’ve set this goal, you need to start working out how to achieve them.
- The first thing to do once you know what you want to achieve, is to list out your sources of income.
- For each of these sources, there are activities or things that need to be done to make each source work well. List all of these, at a high level is fine at this planning stage.
- From here, now break down the actions you need to achieve each of these.
- I make a list of the key things that need to be done to make the source work, then I plot them out based on any dependencies or order of things that need to be done eg. I can’t generate sales for a product on my website, until I’ve updated and put a shopping cart on the site.
- Then I take all of these, and I plot these out across the year, including what is the ‘success’ indicator for each at 3 months, 6 months, 9 and 12 months.
- If you follow these steps, it means you will have created SMART goals. That means that you have created a Specific target, that is Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. It's a simple process that makes sure you don't end up with open ended ideas of what you want to do.
- This next step is optional. I then print it out this out and stick it to the inside of my bathroom cabinet. Every morning when I’m getting ready for the day, I am looking at it and reflecting on whether I am still on track and where I should put my time for that day. It’s a great way to keep my self in check and keep the focus on what matters.
- I also break my to do list into things I WANT to do and things I NEED to do. What I want and what I need to do are often two very different things and when I throw in the filter of whether it’s a goal related activity, I see really quickly where time is being taken away from what I want to achieve.
I’ve built all of the planning steps into a weekly planner for 2018. It includes a weekly spread that allows out to priorities your weekly tasks based on wants versus needs as well as your income goals with actions.